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Friday, 15 September, 2000, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
M&S boss 'set' to go
Marks and Spencer store
Marks and Spencer is unveiling a new look to regain sales
Troubled retailer Marks & Spencer has poached an executive from Kingfisher to join its UK retailing division, the company has confirmed.

Roger Holmes, head of Kingfisher's electrical division, is widely expected to join the company as head of UK retailing.

But speculation is likely to continue that Mr Holmes is being lined up as a replacement for its chief executive Peter Salsbury.

Mr Salsbury has faced investor criticism for the heavy losses posted by the UK retailer.

Kingfisher, one of the UK's leading retail groups, announced earlier this week it was to divide itself in two in a demerger. This demerger is likely to lead to a management reshuffle.

Earlier this week, market speculation was that Debenhams' former chief executive Terry Green had been approached by Marks & Spencer to replace Mr Salsbury.

Marks & Spencer later denied that Mr Green had been approached.

M&S decline

The former queen of the UK High Street has suffered a sharp decline in the past two years.

Its profits have halved in two years - from more than 1bn to just more than 500m.

It is not alone. Many retailers in the clothing middle market have seen their profits squeezed by discounters and top end fashion retailers.

The share price fall has been even more dramatic - from more than 650p at the end of 1997 to 209p now.

In recent weeks, its share price has been hit by rumours that Mr Salsbury is set to leave.

M&S is in the midst of introducing a raft of measures to halt its decline.

That new look is being rolled out bit-by-bit across the UK, but all 297 stores will get a brighter look by the autumn with new staff uniforms and the trademark green carrier bags being scrapped.

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See also:

13 Sep 00 | Business
Debenhams boss steps down
27 Aug 00 | Business
M&S disputes sales slump
11 Aug 00 | Business
M&S shares: 10-year low
19 Jul 00 | Business
M&S: We'll be good again
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